October 9, 2017
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“(Jesus) entered into one of the ships…and sat down.”
“When Jesus sits in the ship everything is in its right place. The cargo is in the hold, not in the heart. Cares and gains, fears and losses, yesterday’s failure and today’s success do not thrust themselves in between us and His presence. The heart cleaves to Him. ‘Goodness and mercy shall follow me,’ sang the psalmist. Alas, when the goodness and mercy come before us, and our blessings shut Jesus from view! Here is the blessed order: the Lord ever first, I following Him. His goodness and mercy following me.”
Mark Guy Pearse
Today’s Study Text:
“And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
Psalm 23 Part 29
“At Home in God’s House”
“God’s house is His presence – Himself. There let us live.”
F. B. Meyer
If God invited me to come dwell in His house, would I feel comfortable accepting His invitation?
What do I think Jesus meant when He told His followers, “I go to prepare a place for you”?
“The self-made life is ineffectual for the Lord. He desires the God-planned life. If He is to lead and direct our lives, there must be a will on our part to permit Him to have the right of way in our hearts. This may not be easy. But if you are ready, God will do the rest; you will find victory and blessing as you ‘dwell in the house of the Lord’ now, with an even greater prospect for the future.”
J. Allen Blair
“Throughout the entirety of our lives, we should never lose sight that we dwell in the house of the Lord. We rejoice in the constant presence and vigilance of a God who has cared for us, and will always care for us.”
John E. White
Dean of Students
Columbia Theological Seminary
It is one of the items I have in a special drawer in my house – a letter my dad wrote to me several years before his sudden death. He was traveling a great deal at the time, and before one overseas trip, he decided to share with me some of the details he felt critical for me to be aware of if something ever happened to him.
One particular evening, before he left on his extended trip, he asked me to come over to the house where my parents lived. It wasn’t good enough for my father just to mail me the letter or leave it in an envelope for me to read at some point in time. Instead, he wanted to read me the letter and explain anything to me that he thought I might not understand. That’s the way my dad was. A very tender-hearted person who not only wanted to give me the facts he thought vital, but wanted to also let me know what was in his heart – what mattered to him.
This is the way I believe our heavenly Father has left His message for us contained in His word – the Bible. He didn’t just leave us with the hard, cold facts. Instead, He has given us His Spirit to guide us into truth - a special truth that contains the message in His heart. A message that detailed His immense goodness…His loving kindness…and His merciful grace. No where, is the heart of our Father revealed in such a beautiful and descriptive manner than when the Psalmist David, a man who throughout his own life, longed for nothing more than to have a heart like God, called his heavenly Father, my Lord and my Shepherd. Although we find David was flawed like so many of us, during his own life-long journey, David repeatedly found that his Father in heaven, his guiding Shepherd, was there for him, not only in the good times but in the bad times as well.
What David concluded, as he came to the end of his “hymn” about his Shepherd, was that life everyday, even on this earth with all its problems, could actually be the beginning of an eternity where he could dwell in God’s house – forever. I like the thoughts shared by J. Allen Blair, in his devotional study on the 23rd Psalm, a book entitled Living Reliantly. Commenting on the passage, “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever,” he notes “David closes the Prince of Psalms with a clear-cut statement about his prospects for the future.” And then he makes this insightful point, “In concluding (David) assures us that all the security he has enjoyed thus far will continue throughout eternity.” But he adds a very important fact and it is this: “Indeed (we can) look forward to our future state of blessedness in the presence of the Lord. But it is also intended to be a present experience. Heaven begins the moment we are born into the family of God by faith in Christ. Daily, as we live in fellowship with Him, we enjoy the wonderful foretaste of the future glory that shall be ours in Heaven.”
I was able to get a better understanding of what “dwelling in God’s house means” from the commentary written by Alice W. Hunt who shares the interesting background of the meaning of the phrase found in Hebrew manuscripts which reads: “I will turn back/return to the house of God.” And then she goes on to share that Mitchell Dahood’s translation of this phrase is “sitting still.” She writes that is may be “the most accurate, rendering of the verse, ‘I will sit still in the house of God for the length of my days’”
Don’t you find it comforting to think that when we accept the care of our Shepherd, when we come within the fold of His care, we can begin to “sit within His house” in the here and now. Indeed, our taste of heaven can begin for us even on earth as we journey toward our permanent home.
Author David Roper captures this thought when he states, “it’s disturbing to look ahead and see the same impossible road stretching out in front of us, going on indefinitely. We’re driven to despair or rebellion when we think there’s no point to our misery and no end to it…we find comfort in the realization that it will not go on forever.”
The truth is – right now- this very day, we are on our way home. A home that is permanent. A place where we will dwell forever. What a promise for you and me.
In my life, there’s only been one place here on earth that for our entire family was referred to as “home.” It was my grandparent’s small house on Maple Street in Tempe, Arizona. In all the years my grandparents lived in that house, not once did we ever miss celebrating Christmas at that house. We may have had to drive for several days to get there. But we always had to be “home” at Christmas. Still to this day, I can hear the click, click, click of the tires on my parents car as it crossed the old concrete bridge, which is now unused but still standing, that spanned the river bed just outside the city of Tempe. Whenever my sister and I would begin to hear that “click,” we’d sit up in the backseat and start shouting, “We’re home!”
Your journey may be long. You may be winding through a very dark valley right now. The shadows might even frighten you. But I encourage you to keep following your Lord, your Shepherd. He’s traveled the road ahead of you. And believe me, He knows the way home.
“Home from those wayward wanderings,
Home from that cold foreign clime,
Home, to the arms of ‘Our Father,’
Where I am all His and He’s mine.”
“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, insistently require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord (in His presence) all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.”
“When we get home from our sorrow and care,
And we stand with the angels of light,
Oh, what a meeting in heaven there’ll be,
In that land without shadow or night;
Sorrow and care, tribulation and pain,
Will leave, when we finally get home
Clouds of despair, storms and trials and care,
We shall leave for that eternal home.
When we get home to the mansions above,
With our friends and loved ones so dear,
Oh, who can tell what a joy that will be
There to live and rejoice evermore;
Free from all pain, far beyond sins stain,
We shall dwell in that beautiful land.
When we get home, when the morning is come,
And forth from the city of gold,
Angels of God, coming down, shall call home
All of those who belong to His fold;
What is our choice, fleeting pleasures of earth,
Or our home where forever we’ll dwell.”
Charles H. Gabriel
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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